Manchester United are in a precarious situation with regards to their attacking department. They have lost Edinson Cavani and Mason Greenwood due to contrasting reasons. And now with the possible departure of star striker and top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo, it leaves new manager Erik ten Hag very short of options.
One of the best options for the Dutchman would be to try and help Marcus Rashford rekindle his love for the game. It has been a year since the England international’s worst moment in his still young career.
He stepped up and missed his spot-kick, with the ball crashing against the upright and going out. And he has since failed to rediscover himself for both club and country.
A difficult period was a given considering the shoulder injury he was carrying and playing through. But once he did come back into the fold, things just never worked out.
— James Ducker (@TelegraphDucker) July 11, 2022
And in a piece which appeared in The Athletic, one of Rashford’s biggest regrets was described as his inability to hit it off with his childhood idol, Ronaldo.
The Portuguese can be a difficult character to work with and in a year where whatever could go wrong did, the 24-year-old tried and failed to build a rapport with the legendary striker.
Rangnick experiment failed
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s sacking heralded the lowest phase in Rashford’s club career. Interim manager Ralf Rangnick just could not get a tune out of him.
There were reports that the player was fine in training but completely went off the rails during matches, while the Mancunian felt sometimes that there was a overload of information sometimes from the German’s end.
The report states: “There were never any behavioural issues behind the scenes. Rangnick just could not understand how such a talented player kept his gifts so concealed… Rashford, it was concluded, did not seem to take on board instructions.
“For one game, the coaches had worked intensively on what they wanted him to do, in and out of possession. Rashford was a substitute and when he entered the play it quickly became clear he was not going to follow the plan.
“Again, it was a source of considerable frustration on the touchline. More than anything, it was just perplexing for Rangnick and his coaches.”
The article lists examples which showed how drastically the forward’s form fell off. The Champions League second leg against Atletico Madrid where Rashford came on as a substitute was a particular low point with the forward looking out of sorts and out of ideas when he was sent on in a bid to change proceedings.
His body language issues also found a mention, something current assistant coach Steve McClaren has spoken of in the past. The way the United academy graduate lets his head drop when the going gets tough and just ghosts through entire periods are things that the current management need to work on.
Ten Hag needs to show some love
The Athletic also claim that the Europa League winner has not taken kindly to the views that he has let his philanthropic activities overshadow his football career.
And that is backed by the statement which says that Rashford played his best football under Solskjaer at the time he was busy attending phone calls from the Prime Minister, attending talk shows and receiving his MBE.
And according to people who have worked closely with Rashford this year, they have seen a new player “determined to remind United — and the football world in general — that he still deserves to be regarded as a category-A player.”
And according to former United legend Dwight Yorke, Ten Hag can get the best out of the Englishman by just trusting him and letting him do his thing. “Marcus, You are my guy, let’s get going again.” should be the new boss’s mantra when it comes to extracting the best out of the forward.
Now after a well-deserved and belated break and an intense individual pre-season build-up program, Rashford has to show why he was once the darling of Old Trafford. He certainly has the skillset and now for the application part.
United Matchday Magazine – The Online Football Programme
United vs. Liverpool. There’s no such thing as a friendly. Ten Hag’s first match. Players desperate to impress. Revenge needed, pride must be restored.
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